Windows Detour? Not So Fast…

Microsoft insists that there's no Longhorn server family on tap. But there might be a limited edition server timed around Longhorn client's release.

Microsoft is back-pedaling over Senior VP Brian Valentines statements to the press that Microsoft is planning on doing a server version of Longhorn, its next-generation Windows release.

Valentine made the comments to various news organizations during interviews at Microsofts Management Summit conference in Las Vegas this week.

Read Valentines Latest Comments on Longhorn

"Brian was just thinking out loud," claims Windows Server group product manager Bob OBrien. "But there are no plans for a Longhorn server. That is not on the boards."

OBrien says there is no change, for the time being, in Microsofts roadmap. Longhorn will continue to be a Windows client release only. OBrien did not comment on whether Microsoft is planning to add a Blackcomb client upgrade to the Blackcomb server release that the company has said will follow Longhorn.

OBrien also says there have been no changes in the target dates for Longhorn and Blackcomb, despite Valentines statements to the contrary.

Microsoft had been talking about a Longhorn client release targeted for end of calendar 2004, and a Blackcomb server release for 2006. Yesterday, Valentine told the press that Longhorn would hit in 2005 and Blackcomb not until 2007 or 2008.

So, whats the real story? Microsoft is not denying Valentines comments, nor claiming they were taken out of context.

OBrien says that Microsoft is looking for a way to deliver to customers in a predictable and consistent way the server technologies that they may require in a timely fashion.

He says one option the company is considering is issuing a "Limited Edition" release of some of the server technologies that will complement Longhorn. This would be akin to the 64-bit version of Windows 2000, Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition server, that Microsoft currently has on the books.

Like Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition, a Longhorn server Limited Edition — if it becomes reality — would be made available to a very targeted set of customers.

"It wont be all the SKUs," OBrien says. "It wont be a new server rev across the board."

"We would like to get stuff to customers on the server side, and dont want to deliver new functionality in service packs," which are designed to provide fixes and patches. "We want to get new functionality to a targeted set of customers in a fully supported way," OBrien says.